Archive for January, 2012


I had to point this one out to my readers, even though it has nothing to do with the Middle East.

I just received an e-mail news alert from the Washington Post. The headline reads: “News Alert: U.S. deficit to top $1 trillion for 4th year in a row.”

Sounds like that bungling president is not handling our economy very well, doesn’t it?

But then, I read the story.

It starts off by echoing the headline, but then comes to the relevant facts:

The federal budget deficit will top $1 trillion for a fourth straight year, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday in a report that predicts a nearly $1.1 trillion gap between government spending and tax collections for 2012.

That figure is the smallest – both in nominal terms and as a percentage of the economy – since the Great Recession began taking a heavy toll on the federal budget in 2009.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the deficit would continue to fall, dropping sharply in 2013 and throughout the remainder of the decade if policymakers follow through with major changes in both tax policy and government spending now on the books.

So, actually, Obama has been reducing the deficit despite the need for a massive amount of funds to bail out the many “too big to fail” financial institutions and for job creation. But to discover that rather pertinent fact, one has to read past both the headline and the first paragraph, something most readers don’t do.

The Washington Post has been steadily moving to the right for years, so this comes as no surprise. But as an object lesson in how mainstream media manages to report the facts, without lying, while at the same time completely misinforming its readers, I don’t think you’d find a starker example.

UPDATE: Turns out, the Post actually changed the lede in the article. It was reported on at the bsom blog here.

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In my latest piece for Souciant, I look at the very wide gap between Israel’s collective stance on the Palestinian Nakba and the understanding of events most Israelis have of that piece of history. It has been my experience that, while the average American, Jewish or not, is quite ignorant of the facts surrounding the departure of the majority of Palestine’s Arab population from 1947-1949, the average Israeli is not, and this was so even before the so-called New Historians blew the cover off the narrative that Israel continues to cling to publicly.

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Many of my readers probably saw the recent article in the journal Foreign Policy by Mark Perry entitled “False Flag,” which details an Israeli covert operation to engage a Pakistani terrorist group (Jundallah, a group officially termed “terrorist” by both the US and Iran, a rare point of agreement between the two countries) for attacks on Iran. The Mossad did this by posing as CIA agents, according to Perry, which infuriated then-President George W. Bush. In response the US did…absolutely nothing.

The piece was very important, and certainly controversial. My friends at +972 Magazine published a critique of it here, from a guest blogger named Rafael Frankel. With all due respect to +972, that critique was a very poor one. They graciously agreed to publish my own rebuttal to Frankel’s piece, and you can read that here.

Since Perry’s piece is, as I said, both important and controversial, it certainly should be critiqued. Hopefully it will get the serious treatment it deserves, not the poor and biased examination Frankel gave it.

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Some follow-up points on the RNC resolution I reported on here.

First, I think it’s clear that the RNC absolutely has no idea what they actually said. They do not understand the implications of their resolution and that it would mean either the end of Israel as a Jewish state or would necessitate the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank.

Second, several readers, at this site and in other places, have raised the issue of whether one of the “whereas” clauses mitigates the call for a single state. That clause reads:

WHEREAS, the Nation of Israel declared its independent control and governance of said lands on May 14, 1948, with the goal of re-establishing their God-given lands as a homeland for the Jewish people;

The clause refers to Israel’s declaration of independence and sovereignty, but it bears no relation to any piece of land. On that date, there were no lines drawn. What would become the Green Line was not in existence in any sense–the Green Line is the line drawn by the armistice declared in 1949 (various agreements were signed with neighboring countries from February to July of that year to end the fighting).

On May 14, 1948, the Yishuv (which would become Israel the next day) did not have control of the Upper Galilee, or large portions of the Negev, but did have control of areas of the West bank which it would soon lose. (more…)

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Last week in New Orleans, the Republican National Committee officially adopted a resolution supporting a one-state solution in Israel-Palestine.

This news came to me via a very trusted source, but both I and my source were puzzled by the fact that we could find nothing in the media confirming this. I called the RNC, but they would neither confirm nor deny.

Cindy Costa, RNC Committeewoman from South Carolina, who brought the resolution

So, I contacted Cindy Costa, the RNC’s National Committeewoman from South Carolina who was listed as the sponsor of the resolution. Here’s our e-mail exchange:

Me: Dear Ms. Costa,
I am a correspondent for several web-based news outlets, including Inter Press Service. I received the resolution below today, and would like to write an article about it. I just wanted to check with you that this was in fact an officially adopted RNC resolution. Can you please let me know? Thanks.

Costa: Yes it was adopted unanimously by the RNC last Friday at our winter meeting in New Orleans.  Cindy

So, that seems pretty clear. I reprint the entire text of the resolution below (and I sent it fully to Ms. Costa so she could confirm the full text), but the key passage is this one:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.

I don’t see how anyone could read that as anything but a statement in support of a one-state solution. The RNC officially supports not only continued Israeli possession of all the land it currently controls, but advocates “one law for all people,” which does not exist now.

Israelis behind the Green Line live under Israeli law. So do settlers. But Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem are subject to a conglomeration of laws based on previous Jordanian law from before 1967, Israeli emergency laws and military regulations mostly adopted after 1967, and even some measure of old Ottoman laws, these particularly applied in East Jerusalem. (more…)

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